Ding dong over Denny chicken that's 'made in Wicklow' but hails from Brazil
Hundreds of consumers have voiced their anger online over Irish food labelling laws that allow Brazilian chicken to be labelled as 'made in Wicklow'.
The offending chicken slices, made by Denny which is owned by Kerry Foods, were highlighted by food writer Katy McGuinness.
"No mention of where the chicken 'Made in Co Wicklow' in this package comes from. I asked Denny and they told me Brazil," she tweeted.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), this product falls under general labelling rules, and is not required to give the origin of the meat.
"I understand that it complies, but I think that consumers might legitimately have an expectation that the chicken was of Irish origin," said Ms McGuinness. "It might be legal but it's deliberately misleading, suggesting Irish-reared chicken. That this is legal is outrageous."
On the packaging, it advises consumers to visit the company's website for sourcing information. When Ms McGuinness looked, there was none to be found.
"So I emailed them via an enquiry form and got a reply saying the chicken comes from Brazil," she said.
It says on the label that it is 'formed' chicken, but according to Ms McGuinness, it's unclear whether Denny imported whole chickens or bits of chickens.
"The 'made in' just means cooked and sliced in Wicklow, but you don't know if the chicken was moulded together and then sliced from bits of chicken or if it was fresh or frozen chicken".
The FSAI said: "We appreciate where consumers are coming from when it comes to country of origin labelling and acknowledge that the information on the label can seem misleading.
"This has also been acknowledged at European level and changes to legislation have been made and will come into force from April 1 next year."
Under these changes, the country of origin of the primary ingredient must be given.
A spokesperson for Kerry Food refused to say if the chicken it imports is whole chickens or in pieces. They also declined to comment on the claim that its labelling was misleading.
"Kerry Foods is one of the largest purchasers of meat in Ireland and the UK and we only use industry-trusted, approved suppliers," a statement said. "Each supplier meets our strict quality criteria and we regularly audit every supplier to ensure the highest standards of quality.
"Our Denny Chicken is fully prepared and packaged on our Shillelagh site, Co Wicklow."
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